Letter: Cassie’s Place is not optional

It is very concerning to hear that Cassie’s Place is under review for long term funding. 

The Anglican Parish of Moruya’s Reverend Linda Chapman (Bay Post/Moruya Examiner 28/11/12) is right in calling for continued funding for Cassie’s Place, a vital community/social service that supports children and adolescents who have experienced sexual abuse and their families.

Rev Chapman is also right in alerting the community to this issue.

The ongoing impact of child sexual abuse is well documented. Issues including mental illness and associated problems like homelessness and substance abuse can become a constant life struggle leading to crisis situations for underfunded and struggling services. 

Professor Alan Fels, National Mental Health Commissioner, has stated the importance of providing “investment in families and communities to increase resilience and reduce the need for crisis services”. 

Recently Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health at Monash University, stated that abuse and neglect are “massive drivers of the need for mental health care”.

Prof McGorry also said that “75 per cent of mental health issues will appear by age 25”. Prof McGorry cites abuse or neglect as a risk factor for mental health issues in these young people and, that “abuse is a a preventable risk factor” in youth mental health issues. Given the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and the up coming Royal Commission, sexual abuse in other religious denominations and institutions and, sexual abuse in families, the need for this vital community/social service is growing not dimishing.

Our community can only hope that Premier Barry O’Farrell, State MP Andrew Constance, and the Department of Community Services will consider thoughtfully and carefully, about the importance of Cassie’s Place for those who need it, and the social and economic cost of allowing this vital healing space to disappear. 

Maureen Searson, Batemans Bay

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